Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas craziness

Christmas has definitely been different this year now that we have 2 children. More fun, more toys and presents and much busier! We are up wrapping presents for the second night in a row. Actually, Daddy C is wrapping, I am instructing from my perch on the couch, cuddled up with a bowl of popcorn and cookies on the side!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Blogging on the go!

This blog post is being published on my iPhone! I am excited for this since I think it will help me to post more often.

Today we finished up our Christmas cookies for our friends and neighbors. Dallas had a blast licking the spoon and would also run off with a piece of cookie dough every so often. She tried to use the cookie cutters but was not very successful at it. We made no bake cookies (my first time ever making them- so easy too) and sugar cookies. We kept the sugar cookies plain since I figured there was enough sugar in them already!

Dahlia's birthday is next week - I cannot believe how fast the time has gone! We are looking forward to celebrating her first Christmas together.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2.5 Years

Dallas will be 2.5 years old in a week or so! She has turned into such a fun-loving, emotional, energetic little girl! I love her to death, but she is quite the challenge most days. Her terrible twos seem to have made a reappearance as of late, after several months of improvement. She really is annoyed by her sister most of the time and we have to constantly remind her to be nice and not hit, to share and to not erupt into a scream every time her sister says something!

She is still not potty trained, but I am not worried. I am taking my time with it, as I have no desire to begin training and end up at a dead end of frustration due to her not being fully ready. She is not showing ANY signs of readiness so we will leave it at that. I plan on starting to train her closer to 3. For now, it's 2 in diapers still!

Dallas is finally beginning to talk more after taking away the pacifier a little over a month ago. I have a suspicion that is where the problems we have with her are coming from. She doesn't quite know how to calm or control herself without it. Hopefully that will improve over the next couple of months. She talks in sentences now, and is saying new things every day.

I have started preschool with her at home, as she needs and thrives under the structure of activities and the learning. I love that I am able to start her when she is ready and see her learn new things! It's truly a whole new world and helps me remember to involve her and teach her throughout the day, reinforcing what is being taught. Rob is able to have a hand in it as well, which he loves.

11 Months and Walking

Dahlia started walking just after Thanksgiving - right around when she turned 11 months old. This is about a month and a half earlier than her sister! She is so cute and so small when she walks! She still sometimes crawls if she is tired or needs to get somewhere quick, but mostly she is walking now.

She also has added some new words to her vocabulary. Along with mama, dada, kitty, sissy, hi, ball and jump, she can say bird, cat, water (wa-wa) and some other word we can't quite identify but which she associates with her lovey.

She is growing so fast, and everyday she resembles more and more a toddler and less and less a baby. I am treasuring the moments because I know how quickly they go. Soon, she will be a "terrible" toddler and we will have a whole other world to deal with!

I am still breastfeeding her (current goal is 18 months so still 6 months to go!), although not exclusively. Her favorite foods are biscuits and crackers, mashed anything (potatoes, sweet potatoes), bananas, baked oatmeal, larabars and eggs. She does seem to have a food allergy as evidenced by her eczema outbreaks, but we still have not been able to correctly identify what it is. We are in the process of beginning a big elimination diet to see if we can rule out the most popular allergens right away. She nurses about every 3-4 hours, depending on the day and how she feels. If she is sick, she will nurse about every 2. The daytime sessions usually do not last more than a few minutes, but her nursing style was always very quick even from the beginning. She still nurses at night 2-3 times as well, although the stretches are slowly getting longer and longer. I look forward to the day she starts sleeping through the night, which will hopefully be very soon!!

2012 Canning Totals

2012 was our most successful garden year to date. We planted 28 tomato plants and ended up canning 21 pints of tomato sauce from them. The last batch I canned today, yes, in December, thanks to freezing the tomatoes whole in gallon sized bags in our deep freezer. I will definitely do this method again next year. It wasn't the best year for tomatoes, so I was glad I planted so many of them. We grew many different varieties as an experiment, and some didn't do very well. Next summer we will know what does well in our area and can hopefully grow more!

Back in June, I was able to buy 6 or so pints of blueberries for just 99 cents each. I made blueberry jam for the first time from them, and ended up with 10 or so half pints of blueberry jam. It is so yummy, and nice to get a taste of summer in the middle of winter! We love it with toast or peanut butter on bread.

I had planned on canning more applesauce, apple butter and some more jelly, but the apple sales never materialized and I figured we had enough jelly as it was. The lowest the apples ever went was $0.99 lb, a far cry from the 49 cents the previous year. It was a bad year for apples though, and Michigan lost most of their crop. It was a bad year for farmers too - the corn here withered into nothing in many areas from the long, hard drought. I did end up stocking up on canning jars anyway, and that will help me with next years canning. I'm hoping to acquire a pressure-canner and can other vegetables such as green beans and maybe peas.